|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General Urges Inter-Agency Meeting on Journalists’ Safety to Seek Common
Approach in Ensuring Protection, Fighting Impunity for Their Killers
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, to the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, held in Paris 13-14 September:
I am pleased to send my greetings to all the participants in this important meeting on ensuring safety of journalists and fighting impunity for the violence that so frequently targets them.† I thank the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General, Irina Bokova, for initiating this process following a proposal by the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication.
I am also glad that this effort to formulate a plan of action to protect journalists will be developed through a broad partnership of international and regional institutions, professional organizations and non-governmental organizations with expertise in this field.
The United Nations stands with you in this effort, which lies at the heart of the information society in which we live.† Freedom of expression and press freedom are among the foundations of democracy and peace.† Attacks on journalists are attacks against everything the United Nations stands for.
In an era of tumultuous change, and at a time when cyber-surveillance, digital harassment and censorship of the Internet have emerged as new barriers to media freedom, article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains of bedrock importance.
The press can never be free if journalists and media workers are under attack.† Those who murder, kidnap, harass, arrest or intimidate journalists not only stop the free flow of information, they stifle the ability of millions of people to have their stories told.† Quite apart from the violence and the suffering such crimes bring, I am also dismayed when they are not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.† Only by putting an end to impunity can we break this vicious cycle.
In 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1738 (2006), condemning deliberate attacks against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of armed conflict.† We all welcome the Council’s engagement on the issue, including its emphasis on the responsibility of States to protect journalists in conflict situations and prosecute those who harm them.
* *** *For information media • not an official record